Jack's Ruminations

Over the years, I’ve reshuffled my blogging sites numerous times. I’ve finally arrived at what I think will be my last move for quite awhile.

My one and only blogging site has moved from Jack’s Ruminations to Peter is Rambling Again.

I figured out how to slurp all my prior WordPress blogs into this latter, final blog (i.e. all my duckandgather.wordpress.com posts from 2005 to 2012, and all my jackpolymath.wordpress.com posts from 2009 to this final one in 2015). Overall, there there are now 323 posts in petersavich.wordpress.com dating back to 2005.

So please visit the new blogging site from now on.


owlThis post is a follow up to the previous one. In my last post, I complained about getting old. Next month, I turn 52, and the last post describes 7 symptoms of “senescence”.

In this post, I outline what I’m doing about this. I’m not exactly “raging against the dying of the light”. But I am announcing, citing Monty Python, “I ain’t dead yet!”.

Here’s what I’m doing to ameliorate my complaints about aging:

1. Cold. I live in Silicon Valley. Winter days here can feel like a spring day in the part of Canada in which I grew up. Up until the last few years, I was a 2 layer guy: layer 1 would be a t-shirt, and layer 2 would be a sweatshirt for the “cold” winter weather.

Today, I’m a 3-layer guy. Same layer 1. Layer 2 has now become layer 3. And the new layer 2 is a long-sleeved warm shirt/sweater. During winter, if I’m not exercising, I’m wearing layers 1 and 2 constantly (even when the fire has our kitchen at 75 degrees), usually with a skull cap.

Easy peasy.

2. Injury/Slow Recovery. Whenever I feel pain while exercising, an old voice says: “Hey, it’s just a little pain. Keep going and the pain will probably go away”. A new, older voice disagrees and says: “Hey asshole, keep on going if you want to be out for 3 months”. I now listen to the second voice.

I’m looking forward to a new voice cropping up before I even start exercising that says: “Hey, how are feeling today, big guy? You know, if your [fill in blank] is a little stiff or sore today, you might think about taking it slow.”

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oldman-512I turn 52 next month. I’m getting old. Not just in years, but how I feel.

I said that to a friend recently, and the friend took umbrage at my claim of getting old. At 52, I’m sub 10% body fat, have tremendous physical and mental energy (for my age), no long term or short term illnesses, and few wrinkles on my face, and my blood test results are those of a much younger man. People tell me I don’t look my age.

But “old” is a relative term. When I say I’m getting old, I’m not comparing myself to the average 52 year old American male. Instead, I’m thinking about the 20-something Peter.

With that introduction out of the way, below are my complaints about getting old. The next post will address what I’m doing about these complaints. I mean, I may be a whiner, but I’m a whiner taking action.

1. Cold. In the last 5 years, I’ve noticed that I’m much colder in cool climates than I used to be. For all my post-puberty life, I was always the “warmest guy in the room”. Other people would be wearing sweaters; I would be in a t-shirt or shirtless, my body pumping out heat. Today, however, within a random group of people, I will be somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of feeling cold.

Now, I’m pretty sure this has a lot to do with the fact that I’m super skinny. 52 year olds are not supposed to be super lean like me. The personal data I’ve taken over the past five years tells me unambiguously that my body wants to be fat. Today, it is infinitely easier to put on 5 or 10 pounds than it is to lose 2. In my 20s, this dynamic was opposite.

Clever me, I’ve defeated the forces of nature conspiring to make me fat by eating a pure, well considered diet, and little of it, ergo my skinny corpus.

But now, at 52, my reward for rejecting the old man “coat of fat” is that I’m a cold old man.

2. Injury/Slow Recovery. This one has been true for 10 or more years, but it’s becoming acute now. The dynamic here is that, in my exercise — barefoot running and sprinting, wood chopping, power yoga — I am much more likely to injure myself than when I was young, and my injuries heal much more slowly now.

Example: I started doing some uphill 75m barefoot wind sprints on our property a few weeks ago. The second time I did it, I pulled something in the back of my left knee. The injury seemed to heal within a couple of weeks, but I re-injure the knee now and then whenever I “push it” on the sprints. Basically, compared to the lion I used to be, I’m now a fragile old man.

More complainin’ below the fold …

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about Obama’s recent actions on Cuba. Her questions on the subject drew me to a new realization: Maybe, just maybe — after 6 years of it looking like my two votes for Obama would be something I’d have to live down for the rest of my life — there is actually real hope for the guy.

Over these past 6 years, I hardly blogged about Obama. Been reading lots, though. Read copious online materials about the health care debacle, the Snowden/NSA/whistleblower prosecution stuff, and Obama’s “bend over” to the banks. Also, I’d read books about the New Jim Crow/mass incarceration/inner city drug war system, the frightening climate crisis, and (currently) the toxic cosmetics and food industry, to name a few.

In all of this reading, Obama comes out as a slightly worse George Bush the Younger. I mean, on his governing record.

How in the world could this have come to pass? Our revolutionary black guy Prez governing like he was the silver spoon offspring of the military industrial complex?

This cognitive dissonance led me to my blog posts about California secession. I still think that is best political route for California and the world. But now I think it just might be a good idea to offer Obama political asylum in California when the sh#$ hits the fan. 🙂

Why the change in my thinking?

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Two posts ago I concluded that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was guilty of second degree murder of unarmed Michael Brown. Last post is about the people  who believe Wilson was justified in murdering Brown. Those people are a large reason behind this earlier post of mine.

But in this current post, I will explain why I have sympathy for Officer Wilson. My reasoning is quite simple. It concerns what I believe Wilson thought he saw when Brown stopped running away, and turned around to face him.

Eyewitnesses Dorian Johnson and Piaget Crenshaw also saw Brown turn around. The Brown they knew — a good student and earnest guy with a promising future — is pictured to the right.

When he turned around with his hands up, the image to the left is what I believe these two saw — namely, a sweet, harmless guy giving up on fighting or running.

But I believe Officer Wilson saw something completely different. The Michael Brown he knew for all of 30 seconds was this guy:

And when Brown turned around with his hands up, this is what I believe Officer Wilson saw:

[below the fold]

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Been following the Ferguson story. Amazing legs on that one. International in scope.

Another amazing thing to me is the people who believe Officer Wilson acted appropriately in shooting and killing the unarmed Michael Brown.

Now, self-acknowledged racists will admit to themselves and to others their belief that Wilson’s actions were justified simply because Brown was black. Since he was black, Wilson was acting fully within his discretionary powers to shoot the black boy dead. Simple!

But in present day America, almost nobody will come out and just flat out say that.

What some will say is that Brown’s robbery of the convenience store justified the shooting. Of course, those sentiments are ridiculous. i.e. Even the Iranians just cut off your hand for stealing; they don’t shoot you like a rabid dog. And even those crazy mofos probably give you at least the pretense of a trial.

So people who espouse this justification for Wilson are pretty much what they seem to be.

A deeper take is racists in denial who say that since Brown seems to have punched Wilson in the face, there we have our justification. But again, we’re back to the Iranian comparison because nobody is saying that Wilson shot Brown dead immediately upon being punched in the face.

So people using the face punching as justification are actually on par with the robbery-as-justification people.

That leaves us with the evidently educated people who say that Wilson was justified in shooting Brown dead because after Brown ran away, and then turned back toward Wilson, Brown charged at Wilson threateningly. Hence, Wilson was justified in shooting Brown dead.

But this sounds a little crazy.

[Explanation of the “magic negro” theory below the fold]

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After four political and sports posts, it’s time to go back to navel-gazing. No, I really mean my navel. Toward the end of July, it started expanding.

Above is a chart of my weight over the past year. For the first 3 1/2 months of this period (up until December), my weight hovered around 170 lb.

At the start of December, I started eating the Grain Brain way. For my already quite restricted diet, this change meant only that I swapped out copious fruit and rice crackers for cheese and more nuts.

Eating that way seems to have dropped my weight set point by about 3 pounds, taking my weight down around 167 lb.

Then in mid-March of this year, I quit distance running. Up until that point, for the previous 2+ years, I had been running three times per week, including a long (for me) run of 1.5+ hours on Saturdays.

My set point responded to me quitting running by rising steadily over the Spring. But by early Summer, my weight had fallen back to where it had been the previous Fall — i.e. 170 lb.

And there my weight stayed for weeks on end in the early part of Summer. At the time, it seemed that this was now going to be my set point for the foreseeable future.

But in late July, my weight started creeping up again. And this morning, for the first time since Spring, I saw 175+ lb on the scale.

What was going on? I wasn’t eating wheat or refined sugar. Wasn’t drinking too much alcohol. I was exercising the same or more. My sleep has been good.

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A week into the Ferguson, MO story, I finally dove into it. What a tragedy. Here’s my take:

1. Michael Brown. A week ago, Michael Brown was a big (6’4″ 300 lb) black kid, with no criminal record, who was a week away from starting college. He lived with his mother, who was divorced from his father. But his father lived in the area.

That’s all I gathered.

The public story of Brown takes a decisive turn one week ago. From his actions — recorded on videotape and spoken about by his friend Dorian Johnson — it appears that Brown had decided that he didn’t want to go to college. At least he didn’t seem to on that fateful day.

On that day, he seemed to be skirting the line between “good” blacks vs. “thug” blacks — a cultural fault line about which Michelle Alexander writes in The New Jim Crow. One week from taking a decisive step toward becoming the former, Brown tragically seemed to go out of his way to embrace the latter.

Security video from last Friday shows Brown in a Ferguson convenience store with his friend Johnson. Brown is there evidently to shoplift some cigarillos. But he doesn’t try to sneak them. Instead, he provocatively walks up to the counter and grabs some in front of the clerk. He then begins to walk out.

Interestingly, Brown first hands a package to his friend Johnson. Johnson clearly wants no part of this because when Brown is turned, Johnson places the package back on the counter.

As the pair leave the store with Brown holding his shoplifted cigarillo package, the clerk runs in front of them to stop them. Brown is seen on the video bullying the shorter clerk backward.

While Brown is doing this, Johnson slips behind Brown out of the store. He seems to want no part of this.

Then Brown and Johnson leave the store, and according to Johnson, they walk down a street together. But they don’t just walk on the sidewalk. Instead, these two guys who just rolled a convenience store brazenly stroll in the middle of the street. I suspect this was Brown’s idea. This is Brown’s second provocation.

A police car pulls up beside them and the cop says: “Get the f*&k on the sidewalk.”

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There will be civil war in America coming this decade, I predict. The map to the right shows that this time, the U.S. Civil War won’t be waged between the North and South, but rather between East and West.

The trigger for the war will be about the War on Drugs prisoners who are held mostly in the East, as the maps to the right show.

Let me say right now that if my prediction of a coming civil war comes true, that my greatest hope is that the ensuing engagement between East and West will be peaceful, and the result will allow the West to secede somewhere around the Continental Divide.

This post is a second one about the 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness written by Michelle Alexander. To understand her thesis, listen to the speech Michelle delivered to the University of Chicago in 2010 about her new book.

This post is about an epiphany I experienced today about the coming civil war.

What was that epiphany?

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